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PubMed | Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens Athens and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in neural circuits | Year: 2015

Understanding the development and differentiation of the neocortex remains a central focus of neuroscience. While previous studies have examined isolated aspects of cellular and synaptic organization, an integrated functional index of the cortical microcircuit is still lacking. Here we aimed to provide such an index, in the form of spontaneously recurring periods of persistent network activity -or Up states- recorded in mouse cortical slices. These coordinated network dynamics emerge through the orchestrated regulation of multiple cellular and synaptic elements and represent the default activity of the cortical microcircuit. To explore whether spontaneous Up states can capture developmental changes in intracortical networks we obtained local field potential recordings throughout the mouse lifespan. Two independent and complementary methodologies revealed that Up state activity is systematically modified by age, with the largest changes occurring during early development and adolescence. To explore possible regional heterogeneities we also compared the development of Up states in two distinct cortical areas and show that primary somatosensory cortex develops at a faster pace than primary motor cortex. Our findings suggest that in vitro Up states can serve as a functional index of cortical development and differentiation and can provide a baseline for comparing experimental and/or genetic mouse models.

PubMed | Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens Athens
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in cellular neuroscience | Year: 2015

Over the last decades, adult neurogenesis in the central nervous system (CNS) has emerged as a fundamental process underlying physiology and disease. Recent evidence indicates that the homeobox transcription factor Prox1 is a critical intrinsic regulator of neurogenesis in the embryonic CNS and adult dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, acting in multiple ways and instructed by extrinsic cues and intrinsic factors. In the embryonic CNS, Prox1 is mechanistically involved in the regulation of proliferation vs. differentiation decisions of neural stem cells (NSCs), promoting cell cycle exit and neuronal differentiation, while inhibiting astrogliogenesis. During the complex differentiation events in adult hippocampal neurogenesis, Prox1 is required for maintenance of intermediate progenitors (IPs), differentiation and maturation of glutamatergic interneurons, as well as specification of DG cell identity over CA3 pyramidal fate. The mechanism by which Prox1 exerts multiple functions involves distinct signaling pathways currently not fully highlighted. In this mini-review, we thoroughly discuss the Prox1-dependent phenotypes and molecular pathways in adult neurogenesis in relation to different upstream signaling cues and cell fate determinants. In addition, we discuss the possibility that Prox1 may act as a cross-talk point between diverse signaling cascades to achieve specific outcomes during adult neurogenesis.

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